The death of a man who reportedly had symptoms of coronavirus, in Maiduguri, has caused confusion in the Borno State capital.
The man died at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) at about 4 p.m., PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Health workers at the hospital, who asked not to be named, expressed concern that people who have contact with the deceased are yet to be quarantined.
An anonymous statement believed to have been released by concerned medical personnel at the hospital announced the death.
The viral statement reads:
“There was a confirmed case of COVID 19 at UMTH. The case was a retired anesthetic nurse working with MSF in Pulka town of Gwoza LGA.
“The bad thing is that he has had contact with several health workers both within and outside UMTH (being a health worker).
“He was brought from Pulka to UMTH by 2 nurses which are also now at risk (together with their families).
“This evening after his demise female friends, relatives, and other mourners gathered in his house leading to having contact with his family who have been having direct contact with him since he was brought from Pulka (during his 2 days admission).
“And the worst of all is he is staying in Umaru Shehu Ultra-Modern Hospital staff quarters which is within the hospital premises thereby exposing more health workers and patients as well to risk.
“Please be careful of social gatherings within Maiduguri at the moment.”
PREMIUM TIMES investigations confirmed that the man was admitted to the male medical ward where there were other patients.
The man who was attended to by many health personnel in the hospital also had his relatives coming to visit him before he passed away.
“I don’t know why the state committee on COVID-19 has not officially spoken about this precarious development since yesterday,” a medical personnel who asked not to be named said.
“As I am talking to you now the family of the deceased have self-isolated because they strongly believe their deceased relative had the COVID-19 infection because it was not long ago he returned from France,” the source added.
PREMIUM TIMES has not independently verified this claim.
Another medical staff of the UMTH had also confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that “the case is true.”
“Please don’t quote me, but I can confirm to you that the patient was symptomatic before he died,” the second source said.
A middle-aged man who claimed to be a friend to the bereaved family confirmed that the suspected case was immediately buried.
“I also attended his burial yesterday and now the family members and those that attended to the preparation of the corpse for burial are self-isolating after the rumour began to fly that the deceased may have died of COVID-19,” the man said, asking not to be named.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted UMTH Head of Information, Justina Anaso, she promised to get back as soon as she gets clarification on the matter from the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC).
“Kindly be patient as I will get back to you as soon as I speak with the CMAC, whom I’m trying to get across to now,” she said on Sunday morning.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the press secretary to the Borno State deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, who chairs the state committee on COVID-19, he said he could not confirm anything on the matter.
“All I know is that the committee headed by His Excellency the deputy governor is in a meeting with members of the committee as we speak; maybe the issue will be clarified when they are done with the meeting,” said Mr Talba Sunday morning.
Borno has no confirmed case of COVID-19 at the time of this report.
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